Saturday, September 8, 2012

Einstein Rocked It

The Manhattan Project is something I know very little about. After our tour of the B Reactor today, I know little more than nothing. I have never seen anything quite like the innards of a nuclear reactor and I was a little awestruck by it.
Note: The tours are hard to get on and I had put in for two seats back in March. I stayed up late one night so that at 12:01a.m. I could click on the dates we were available to go and we won two seats for today. The tours are done April through September and very limited. We were not disappointed in this tour.

Paul worked at the
reactor for 38 years.
While driving out to the reactor, we had a history teacher on board the bus who narrated the entire trip. She was really pleasant and I learned a lot on the way out. When we got to the site, there were 5 smiling men standing at the entrance, waiting to give us a very well-orchestrated tour. Normally, something so mechanical would lose my interest in about 10 2 minutes but I enjoyed every bit of information they gave us. I think the reason for this is the man who gave us the tour had been employed by DOE from the time he got out of college until he retired in 1988. He was so knowledgeable and talked in terms that even I could understand.  I mean, really.  Who understands how nuclear power is made? He broke it down so I got a general idea of how the reactor works to make the plutonium from uranium. If I been paying attention in Mr. Henderson's science class, I might not be so dumb in this area. It is nothing short of amazing. I love watching people who love  their work! 
30,000 doughnuts a day!
Another interesting tidbit that I remembered from a visit to a local museum (CREHST) were the facts about what it took to build the Manhattan Project, the labor, the building of a city in a few short months, and the loyal dedication of those involved in the project. I am especially impressed with the amounts of pie & coffee they made and served daily.  900 pies? Of course, they had to make 1,000 pounds of coffee to go with it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that the Russians still send someone on an annual basis to take photos of the flanges which are removed from the water pumps. They take those photos back home and compare them with previous years' photos to make certain we Americans are not running this nuclear reactor. Where can I get a job like that?
Oh, and the other thing that impressed me was that Albert Einstein had written a letter President Roosevelt, encouraging him to move forward in the development of nuclear fission here in the U.S., promoting Dr. Fermi's work in the area of nuclear fission. From that letter, the ball got rolling. I had no idea Einstein had so much clout!
What an interesting tour.  Do you have interesting history where you live? Have you checked it out?
love, susan


  1. Don't worry Susan, all that was in his chemistry class, not biology!

    1. Oh! Thanks for clearing that up for me! Haha!


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